PORTLAND -- Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton doesn’t need to look beyond his own home to find people wanting to know about the Kyron Horman case.
“She does ask me about the case,” he said of his seven-year-old. “She would ask me all the time when are we going to find him. As time went on the questions became more specific and more concerning to her. It was very difficult to answer those questions.”
Staton’s daughter is the same age Kyron was when he disappeared from Skyline Elementary six months ago.
“Even today, the questions come up, why haven’t we found him?” Staton told KGW. “She’s reminded me a couple of times that it’s my responsibility.”
While there have been no arrests in the case, much of the focus has been on Kyron’s step-mother, Terri Moulton Horman, and a small circle of people around her.
“It’s not something we want to rush,” Staton said. “We don’t want to make a mistake. We need to get this right.”
In the course of trying to get it right, Staton’s investigators have filled 63 four-inch binders with investigative information. They have received more than 4,300 tips, conducted more than 1,000 interviews and carried more than 450 specific searches so far. Investigators are still taking in around five calls a day.
In October, Staton shifted the make-up of the group charged with finding Kyron, moving from a sort of loose amalgam of people from many agencies to a more focused task force of nine investigators.
“It was a concern that we were not doing enough narrowing things down, that we weren’t becoming as focused,” said Staton. “That’s not the case any more.”
Staton said that since the make-up was changed “they have narrowed down the focus. They’ve managed to close down many leads and stay focused on what still needs to be done.
“I’m optimistic this case will be resolved.”
Timeline: The search for Kyron Horman
It’s a feeling that is shared by Kyron’s parents, Kaine Horman and Desiree Young.
“We feel the investigation continues to move forward in a positive manner and is progressing toward finding out what happened to Kyron,” they said last week in a statement. “We remain confident in the commitment of law enforcement and in the mission to find our son.”
Kaine told KGW recently that law enforcement is doing everything they can to find his son and that these things take time.
“People ask me if I get frustrated that they haven’t made an arrest yet and I tell them absolutely not,” Kaine said. “They need to do everything by the book. They can’t afford to make a mistake. It needs to be done correctly.”
Staton says that he meets with Kaine and Desiree regularly and will be meeting with them again in the next couple of weeks.
“It’s important to have personal contact with them, hear their concerns,” he said.
Staton says that while investigators have been doing everything they can, he does wish he could go back to that first day Kyron disappeared.
“At first, we thought it was a child who walked away from school,” Staton said.
He believes that if somehow they could have figured out earlier that it was an abduction, they would have done things differently.
“The opportunity to catch people was greater when things were fresh,” he said.
Instead, it wasn’t until two days later that they started bringing teachers, students and parents back to the school for interviews.
“That hurt us,” he says. “Once the days passed, people began to lose their train of thought and what they did or didn’t see.”
Staton said that since they can’t go back in time, they remain focused on trying to move things forward and major energies have been devoted to further analyzing all sorts of data including records from cell phone towers.
They have used that analysis to help focus new searches including three recent weekends when volunteers were on Sauvie Island.
“Our detectives developed information from both interviews and other sources that allowed those areas to become target areas,” he said. “There was enough information to bring in both dive teams and search teams.”
Staton said they continue to analyze the information and, based on what they figure out, will determine whether or not to bring the search teams back to Sauvie. island to another location.
In the meantime, the sheriff remains optimistic.
“We have many active leads,” he said. “We are narrowed down to a fine focus. I have high hopes and believe in the detectives.”